I’m feeling a bit scattered and a lot busy this month. It’s bright and sunny and the outdoors is calling me, but I’m back at work and haven’t properly organised my training routine; reality is truly setting in.
New Year’s resolutions are lots of fun to make and it can be all too easy to get overly ambitious RE your future training. Unfortunately, without a plan of attack it can be very difficult to keep that momentum going.
Mid-month found me plugging away at base training and trying to remind myself that this is the foundation for a good, strong year. That it is no more or less important than long runs, speed workouts or check-your-fitness-and-see races in the leadup to your A race.
I have done some things right though, over the Christmas-New Years break I packed in some awesome altitude training:
My favourite place in the world is Perisher Smiggins, up in the NSW Alpine country.
Above – This is looking down into Smiggin Holes, from the top of Mt Piper
Heard of Mt Kosiuscko? Yeah, that’s there too.
Below are some photos from my hike to the top, then I ran back down with my sister.
I had to abandon the bf (he was taking too long and kept making faces in my nice photos!)
Gayle and I checking out the Seaman’s hut at the 6k mark (Insert rude joke here)
Obligatory selfie at the top (yes, this was the best of about 50 shots)
On the way back down…
For just over a week I ran my little heart out all over Perisher, Charlotte’s Pass, Jindabyne and Smiggs. I also added some hiking, partying and a LOT of sleeping into the mix.
My recovery has been fairly conscientious (for me). I had a sauna several times while I was away, and foam rolled my ass off. I managed almost 60k of hikes and runs and came back with a renewed ability to manage hills. Perfect!
Once I got home from holidays and headed back to work (boo) my next problem was figuring out a way to make lots of small runs more palatable.
I’m a massive snob when it comes to little runs. A 5k seems hardly worth getting out of bed for (and certainly not worth setting a 5am alarm for!) let alone something pathetic like a 3ish k trot and some strength work for afters.
BUT, deep in my heart I know that’s wrong! These little runs are the best way to build up that low level endurance you need in long races. Lots and lots of easy runs, where you train your body to cope with higher mileage at a lower heart rate, are worth their weight in gold. But they are not very exciting. Luckily, I came across this article: Run every road in your town. I thought it was a brilliant idea, and a great way to explore my suburb.
East Ringwood – I’m coming at ya!!
No idea how many k’s are hidden in this little pocket of Eastern Melbourne,
but me and my textas are going to have fun finding out.
Lastly, I will be recommitting to the little things. Everyone has those things they MEAN to do but don’t. The 1% things that will probably make a big difference to your overall running ability. For me it’s strength work. I know I say it a lot, but it’s so true. Every now and then I double down on really trying to build a stronger core or sturdier hips and glutes, and you know what? The more often I get through a week or two of regular strength training, the easier it is to fit into my routine the next time I try.
At the moment I am aiming for 2 times a week for my core using the wonderful Lucy Bartholemew’s core workout vid on her Facebook page, and a daily, minimal (think 5 minutes) round of single leg squats and stretches. Very easy to keep up, and surprisingly effective.
After all of that kicks in I should be on track for a crack at the Warburton Trail Fest in early March.
Last weekend I went out to Powelltown (VIC) to check out “High Lead”, a vertiginous section of the “Walk into History” trail that comprises a large part of this new 50k ultra set in beautiful rainforest surrounds near Warburton.
It did not disappoint. I am almost positive I have never tackled such a long AND steep section of track, and certainly not one as technical as this. To be clear, it is not actually that rocky or tricky, it is just covered in ferns and wet leaves, with the odd root/rock/fallen tree section to liven things up a little. Going up was absolutely hard work, but coming down was the real kicker. I was very very glad I had my Salomon Fellraisers on. Anything else would have had me falling on my ass every three steps!
To spice things up even more, there were plenty of spiderwebs – it seemed like no one had been through this section for a little while at least – and leeches. Leeches of all things! They were only little but quite a few latched on to my ankles over those two hours.
YUCK! I am going to wear gaiters next time!
It was, however, a survivable hill, even set within the first third of a 50k race.
Those logs were a lot slimier than they look, but I stayed upright this entire run, so I was very pleased with myself.
Feeling like a fairy princess in my enchanted forest right about here
A sweaty, leech-infested fairy princess, but still…
It was also very, very beautiful, and well worth another visit, so I am going to head back a few more times between now and March 10th, because I feel like this is one course where a bit of reconnaissance will be very helpful!